Off The Record: The latest rumors and rumblings in North Alabama
Mike Ward ‘The Sequel’
Mike Ward, senior vice president, Government & Public Affairs for the Huntsville/Madison County Chamber of Commerce, is infamous in local political circles for his “contentious” relationship with former Sen. Richard Shelby and his staff. One point of conflict occurred when Ward reportedly scolded the then-senior senator for skipping a post-Washington Update Breakfast reception to return to D.C. and accompany the Alabama football team to the White House after winning the national championship. Now, Ward is hearing concerns from defense-related businesses and chamber members about Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s block of military promotions. There apparently have been meetings of leaders in Research Park about the issue and several have been asked to call Tuberville personally, but with little success. It seems they don’t believe their opinion on this issue would sway him and they don’t want to risk their own standing with the senator. Tuberville, meanwhile, remains resolute.
Opposition for Strong?
With the March 2023 primaries fast approaching a few candidates are beginning to stir. First-term Congressman Dale Strong has no announced opposition but political insiders say State Rep. Scott Stradthagen (R-Hartselle) is at least kicking the tires. Insiders point to chatter on some Morgan County Republicans social media pages boosting his possible candidacy as well as a poll testing the waters on the Morgan County Republican Facebook page.
Hold your horses – you may not have to wait until next year to get your political fix. Rumor and speculation is swirling that Rep. David Cole will be indicted in the coming days for voter fraud and perjury. These charges are in connection with his claim of residency within the District 10 that were later proven to be false. This would trigger a special election in the district that includes areas of West and South Huntsville as well as Redstone Arsenal, Madison and Triana.
Radiance Technologies definitely receives the prize for the biggest star-studded dinner at the Business Council of Alabama Conference in Point Clear. Bill Bailey and his team were able to pull in Sen. Tommy Tuberville, U.S. Reps. Jerry Carl, Mike Rogers, and Dale Strong, as well as Lt. Gov. Will Ainsworth, not to mention numerous members of the Alabama Legislature also in attendance. Radiance has earned a reputation as the most influential defense company in both Washington and Montgomery.
Auburn for the win
A War Eagle told us that Auburn is the first university in the state to ink a deal with home-grown tech startup Astound Research. Located in Birmingham and now active nationwide, Astound connects university researchers with industry dollars. Tip your hats to the folks over at Auburn working to accelerate the pace of science. If you are a cancer survivor, tip it twice!
Downtown Huntsville turning blue
Downtown Huntsville will be turning blue, Charger Blue that is, for the upcoming Charger Tipoff. As part of the Alumni Weekend at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, Charger Tipoff will take place on a basketball court set up in downtown Huntsville at The Yarbrough parking lot at the corner of Holmes Avenue and Jefferson Street on Sept. 22. The public is invited to attend the preview of the UAH women’s and men’s basketball teams.
Everyone’s favorite chicken salad expands
It looks like the City of Madison’s second favorite chicken restaurant will soon have a new location in Town Madison. Chicken Salad Chick, famous for causing parking headaches at their U.S. 72 location, will open on Zierdt Road next to Outback Steakhouse. Developers promise there will be plenty of parking for folks wanting to get their Classic Carol, Barbie-Q or Fruity Fran chicken salad fix. I’m a Fancy Nancy fan myself.